Strawberry Lemonade

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Lemon and strawberry are two great summer flavors and I’ve been seeing Strawberry Lemonade photos come up quite a bit this summer on Pinterest. So I thought I’d try a recipe out from Better Homes and Gardens. I added a little more strawberries and also more lemon juice than the original recipe calls for because I like things really lemony! It’s the perfect drink to sip on as you’re sitting on your patio on a sunny summer day! Summer is going by much too fast, so maybe taking some time to enjoy Strawberry Lemonade will help slow it down! :)

STRAWBERRY LEMONADE by NancyC, adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

Makes 8 servings

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled (I chopped the strawberries into chunks before measuring out the 2 cups)
  • 1 1/4 cups lemon juice, or the juice of 5 to 6 lemons
  • Optional: additional whole or halved strawberries and lemon slices for garnish

Combine 1 cup of the sugar and 1 cup of the water in a small saucepan; cook and stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Set this syrup mixture aside to cool.

Combine remaining 3 cups water, 1/2 cup sugar, and the strawberries in a blender and process until smooth. Transfer this mixture to a 2–quart pitcher; add the cooled syrup and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Fill pitcher with crushed ice or ice cubes.

If you want to add a special touch, garnish each glass of lemonade with lemon slices and/or fresh strawberries.

NOTE: To make ahead, prepare the lemonade mixture as directed, but do not add ice. Cover and chill up to 8 hours. Add ice and serve.

I think it’s fun to make fruit-flavored variations of lemonade! Do you make lemonade often?

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Creamy Fruit Dip

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Fresh fruit served with a sweet, creamy dip is great for a summer brunch, snack, or even a light dessert. Here’s an easy fruit dip recipe that’s so simple to make and so good! It’s made with just two ingredients–marshmallow creme and fruit-flavored cream cheese. The marshmallow creme makes the dip really smooth and creamy. Serve with a variety of your favorite fruit!

CREAMY FRUIT DIP by NancyC

Makes about 2 cups of dip

  • 1 (7-ounce) jar marshmallow creme
  • 1 (8-ounce) container fruit-flavored cream cheese, softened (I used strawberry)

Mix the marshmallow creme and fruit-flavored cream cheese together in a medium bowl until smooth and creamy (use a beater for a really creamy dip).  Serve with a variety of your favorite fruit.

Fruit is really good on hot summer days and we’ve been having lots of them where I live! Do you make fruit dips often when you serve fruit?

Linked to Fiesta Friday/Novice Gardener,  Inspire Me Monday/Create with Joy, Show and Share/Coastal Charm, Wow Us Wednesdays/Savvy Southern Style.

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Feta

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If you like tart and tangy, savory and salty flavors, then this is a salad you may want to try! I decided to make this when my friend Greg gave me some cucumbers from his garden. You can’t go wrong combining cucumbers with tomatoes, but when you add in some feta cheese and Kalamata olives, that really gives this salad a special zing! The “dressing” in this salad is very simple…just some lemon juice and olive oil. So there are lots of healthy ingredients in this. If you don’t have cherry tomatoes, you can chop up larger tomatoes into chunks and that should work fine. If you have a garden, it’s a great way to use all those cucumbers and tomatoes you’re growing this summer!

TOMATO CUCUMBER SALAD WITH FETA by NancyC

Makes about 5 servings

  • 1 pint (2 cups) grape or cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup coarsely crumbled feta cheese (about 1/4 lb.)
  • 2 small to medium cucumbers, diced into 1/2″ chunks (about 2 cups diced)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced (slice both the white onion part and green stems)
  • 1 cup pitted and sliced or halved Kalamata olives
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

In large bowl, toss the tomatoes with the thyme, salt, pepper, and feta cheese.

Add in the cucumber, green onions, and olives; toss with the tomato/feta cheese mixture, tossing everything together well (you can let this mixture sit at room temperature up to 1 hour before serving). Just before serving, add the lemon juice and olive oil and toss everything together well. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

I love using fresh veggies from the garden or farmer’s market in summer recipes! Are you growing any veggies this summer?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday/Create with Joy, Show and Share/Coastal Charm.

Blackberry Banana Bread

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It was just a matter of time before I made this Blackberry Banana Bread, since I love trying different banana bread recipes and blackberry season is in full swing! This recipe makes a nice, full loaf that is dense and moist and full of banana and blackberry flavor. It also has a rich buttery taste and the buttermilk gives it a great taste, too. I think this quick bread works best with fresh blackberries, but if you want to try using frozen, your baking time will be longer.

It’s getting a little hot to bake since we’re right in the middle of summer, but you can make this in the evening or early in the morning when it’s a little cooler. Hope you enjoy this bread!

BLACKBERRY BANANA BREAD by NancyC, adapted from Betty Crocker

Makes one 9 x 5″ loaf

  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (3 to 4 medium)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups fresh blackberries (if your berries are big, use 1 3/4 cups)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour a 9×5″ loaf pan; set aside.

In large bowl, mix sugar, butter, eggs, bananas, and buttermilk until well blended.

Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt and mix just until moistened. Gently fold in blackberries, distributing evenly in batter.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 62 to 65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 to 10 minutes, them remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

You can wrap and store the bread at room temp up to 4 days or refrigerate up to 10 days.

I’ve been having fun trying a variety of blackberry recipes–have you been doing much baking with berries?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday.

Blackberry Gingerbread Muffins

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Usually I think of making gingerbread during the winter holidays, but here’s a summerized version in muffin form! Fresh blackberries make these muffins moist and of course the ginger and molasses give these muffins that great gingerbread taste. I had clipped this recipe … Continue reading

Blackberry Buttermilk Cake

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I mentioned in my last post that I had been picking some blackberries this past week. And this is one of the recipes I made with them–Blackberry Buttermilk Cake. It’s a recipe I’ve had for awhile, clipped from a newspaper and kept … Continue reading

Shoepeg Corn Salad with Honey Dressing

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I was looking through some old recipes I’d clipped from magazines awhile ago and came across one for Shoepeg Salad. It sounded like a great side dish for summer. I found some other variations on this salad at different recipe sites and ended up making my … Continue reading

10 Recipes for Cinco De Mayo

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I can’t believe May is here already! I’m so ready for the warm, sunny weather this month brings. And since Cinco De Mayo is almost here, I’ve been seeing lots of fiesta-ish recipes all over the place! I thought I’d do … Continue reading

Sweet Potato Pound Cake

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I love baking with sweet potatoes–I’ve made Sweet Potato Bread, Sweet Potato Biscuits, Loaded Sweet Potato Muffins, and Sweet Potato Cinnamon Cake… so I thought it was about time to try a sweet potato pound cake! I found a great-sounding recipe at Taste … Continue reading

Very Lemony Raspberry Lemonade

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When I posted my Lemon Raspberry Muffins recipe recently, I promised you I’d share the recipe for the Raspberry Lemonade I made to go with them…well, here it is! It’s very, very lemony! And the frozen raspberries that are mixed in with it give … Continue reading

Daffodils

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I picked these daffodils yesterday–they’ve just recently started blooming. They were growing by the side of the road, and I just had to pick some! I love the variety–some are bright yellow, some are soft yellow, and some are soft cream. My favorite, though, are the daffodils that have creamy petals with vivid orange centers.

Do you have daffodils in your garden and are they blooming yet?

I’m linking this to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener and Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.